TSD calls for halting autonomy demands till acceptable solutions are found

ITANAGAR, Aug 7: The Tanw Supuñ Dukuñ (TSD) has appealed to the state government to put a halt to the demands for autonomous councils/regions and other “divisive” proposals until acceptable solutions to the issues are found.

The TSD said it is perturbed over the recent resurfacing of autonomous council movements in the state with the submission of a memorandum to the chief minister by the Mon Autonomous Region Demand Committee.

“Such demands are not in the interest of unity in diversity with equitable growth and development of all communities of the state and it should be halted/suspended till acceptable solutions are arrived upon from all stakeholders on all issues,” the apex council of the Apatanis said in a representation to the chief minister.

It welcomed the decision of the government to invite all stakeholders, including the AITF, CBOs, the autonomous region demand committees, legal bodies, etc, for discussions on the issue.

The TSD requested the state government to “not succumb to such pressure until the issues related to autonomous councils are resolved amicably in the larger interest of the state.”

Stating that it understands and respects the democratic rights of the people and their demand for Mon and Patkai autonomous councils since 2003-04, the TSD, however, said “furtherance to such demands or proposal for autonomy of a region will ignite the feelings of deprivation and marginalization, which may trigger various movements for self-righteousness and self-determination that would be detrimental to peace and harmonious pan-Arunachal spirit.”

“If such demands are allowed to the people of Mon and Patkai areas now, there is an apprehension that it may not only lead to hectic parlays and infighting of the communities across and divide Arunachal Pradesh, but also will open the Pandora’s box with similar demands, which may result in disintegration of the state in the long run,” the representation said.

The TSD said that the Mon region is better placed than many other regions of the state, considering its cultural history, societal growth, and economic and political development, “with three chief ministers, union ministers and as many ministers and MLAs from the Mon region in the past and present.”

While the Mon region has a special department of karmik and adhyatmik affairs, the Patkai region has the department of Tirap, Changlang and Longding, “which were created with preferential policy with special packages for better development and growth of these regions, unlike the rest of the areas in the state,” the representation said.

“If a policy of preferential treatment and status to Mon and Patkai regions is pursued further by the state government, thereby granting selective autonomous councils, then the government both in the state and the Centre are to justify the lack of parity and having a step-motherly approach to develop other regions of Arunachal Pradesh,” it said.

The TSD said that the Apatani, which is one of the largest tribes in Arunachal, has been politically deprived for long of their fundamental right to equal and democratic representation in the state legislative assembly “since the 1970s till date.”

“Despite having more than required electorates and recommendations made earlier from time to time, including the latest one by Justice Kuldip Singh Delimitation Commission of India, 2002, for two legislative assembly seats for Ziro-Hapoli areas, the entire Apatani community is still represented by a single legislative assembly seat since 1972,” it said.

The TSD said “this genuine political deprivation to one of the largest tribes in the state with the second highest electorates, next to Itanagar assembly constituency, has wide adverse effects on socioeconomic and cultural development and growth of the region.”

It said “the situation has gone from bad to worse day by day due to long political deprivation without any preferential treatment with special packages like that of Mon and Patkai regions.”

It said that the recent district-wise quota system and other such district-wise and assembly constituency-wise distribution of government jobs and other allocations, etc, have worsened the situation for the Apatani community.

“Under such circumstances, and given the ground reality of region and community deprivation for so long, the Apatani community, and their inhabitants areas is fittest case for considering and granting of Apatani autonomous council/region in Arunachal Pradesh, if at all the government is committed or desires to fulfill the aspirations of all the people and regions alike without further discrimination.”

“The Apatani community genuinely deserves at least a separate district for them with the creation of more assembly constituencies in state assembly as per already approval given by the Delimitation Commission of India, 2002, under Justice Kuldip Singh Committee on priority,” it said.

The TSD also stated that laws which are not serving the interests of the people and are against equitable growth and development of all communities should be scrapped.

“Further, constitutional provision that would bring the state for better development and growth for the larger interest of all communities, like abrogation of Article 371 (H) or bringing the whole of Arunachal Pradesh under the 6th Schedule should be discussed, debated and taken up on priority basis for the larger interest of our state and its people,” said the representation.